This rustic smoked ham and bean soup is always a favorite when served before the cold front arrives    Can serve up to eight people so invite the neighbors    Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 2 Tbsp of cold pressed olive oil to pan and swirl to coat the bottom    Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced carrot and six chopped garlic cloves    Cook for 10 minutes or until vegies are tender    Scrape onion mixture into a six quart electric slow cooker and add about 26 oz of unsalted chicken stock and 1 lb of dried Great Northern beans     Place 2 lbs of smoked ham hock on top    Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or overnight)     After slow cook – uncover and remove the smoked ham hocks from the pan and cool slightly    Remove the meat from the bone and discard the fat, skin and bones    Chop the meat into bit size pieces and stir into the beans    Cook another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld      Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of minced fresh chives and 1 tsp ground black pepper    about 260 calories per cup    5g of fat (saturated 1g, mono 2.5g, poly 1g)    Protein 19g    Carb 36    Fiber 11g    Chol 8 mg    Iron 3.6g    Sodium 539g    Calcium 136 mg    Comfort Soup is best served with a warm smile

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